48th Annual Festival of Roses could be last for Wasco

Longtime Festival committee members step down
Posted at 6:26 PM, Sep 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-08 21:30:15-04

The Wasco Festival of Roses committee members have each served on the committee for over 20 years. 

"We just can't do this anymore," said President of the Wasco Festival of Roses, Kelly Richers. 

Richers, President of the Wasco Festival of Roses also works as the Superintendent for the Wasco Union Elementary School District. 

He says the committee has been hoping to pass down the torch for years, but each time someone expresses interest, they either leave or don't follow through. This week, they took a vote.

"The vote was that we would disband our committee after this festival and let someone else pick up the ability to carry on some type of festival," Richers said.

The festival has been met with several challenges throughout the years. The production of roses has declined. Wasco was once the highest producing city of roses in the United States. 

"The acreage of roses dropped from 6,200 acres down to about 1,000 acres," explained Richers. 

Despite setback, some rose growers in Wasco are thriving, such as Weeks Roses.

"We're one of the largest rose growers in the world," said Weeks Roses Facility Plant Manager, Stu Chamberlin. 

Weeks Roses continues to supply roses for the Festival of Roses and believes in supporting the event so important to the Wasco community.

However, there seems to be a silver lining in the festival's uncertain future. 

Richers says several different groups have come forward saying "that they intend to try to take over the responsibilities and continue with the festival," he said. 

The 48th Annual Festival of Roses takes place in Wasco this weekend.